Nerve cells that help control hunger have been ID’d in mice | Science News

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Nerve cells that help control hunger have been ID’d in mice

Targeting similar cells in people could mark a new way to regulate appetites

3:43pm, July 5, 2018
mice nerve cells

HUNGER SIGNS  Certain nerve cells in a mysterious brain region in mice become active when the mice are hungry (yellow spots at left) and when the hunger hormone ghrelin is present (yellow spots at right), microscope images show.

Newly identified nerve cells deep in the brains of mice compel them to eat. Similar cells exist in people, too, and may ultimately represent a new way to target eating disorders and obesity.

These neurons, described in the July 6 Science, are not the first discovered to control appetite. But because of the mysterious brain region where they are found and the potential relevance to people, the mouse results “are worth pursuing,” says neurobiologist and physiologist Sabrina Diano of Yale University School of Medicine.  

Certain nerve cells in the human brain region called the nucleus tuberalis lateralis, or NTL, are known to malfunction in neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s. But “almost nothing is known about [the region],” says study coauthor Yu Fu of the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium, Agency for Science,

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